Smart ways to satisfy your sweet tooth

May 2, 2008 at 2:59 p.m. ET

Have a sweet tooth? You are not the only one. In fact, experts say that humans have an innate preference for the taste of sugar, a trait that is more obvious among women than men. Simply put, we often can't get enough of the sweet stuff. But what is the best way to satiate that sweet tooth when you are trying to keep your calorie count down?

Woman with Lolipop
The best advice is to check your diet. Many cravings come about because of hunger or low blood sugar levels, so be sure to get enough calories from protein, healthy fats and carbohydrates throughout the day. But if you do all that and still can't kick those cravings, try these smart swaps next time your mouth is watering for something sweet.


Go ahead and grab some — but be sure it is dark chocolate. Researchers say eating a small, 1.6-ounce bar of dark chocolate every day treats your heart with a healthy dose of flavanoids. You can also try an Attune Chocolate Wellness Bar, stocked with probiotics and calcium and available in yummy flavors like mint chocolate, strawberry bliss, and chocolate crisp. Or sip on some low-fat chocolate milk or hot chocolate next time you are hit with a hankering for chocolate.


Thirsting for something tangy and tart? Your best bet is to munch on a piece of fresh fruit or grab a bit of dried fruit. Extra-tart fruits like peaches, mangoes, and granny smith apples actually taste like candy when they are dried. Or serve yourself a bowl of applesauce, which may also quench the desires of your sweet tooth. But if you just can't get over your craving for a candy fix, go for low-cal options like gummy bears, licorice and hard candies.


It's midnight and your stomach is screaming for a big bowl of butter pecan ice cream. What to do? The wisest choice is to stock your freezer with low-cal confections like Skinny Cow or Tofuti Cutie ice cream sandwiches. And even if you haven't sucked on a pudding pop since you were a kid, Popsicle JELL-O Pudding Pops offer a tasty, portion-controlled, and low-fat alternative to ice cream. Or, mix low-fat cottage cheese with sugar-free, fat-free pudding powder to get a cool and creamy concoction that will (almost) taste like the real thing.


If you just can't get your mind off the thought of guzzling the sweet, fizzy liquid of soda, try this simple swap: Add Crystal Light or unsweetened Kool-Aid drink mix or a twist of lemon, lime, or cranberry juice to soda water. You will save up to 150 calories, reduce carbs, and cut back on caffeine — but you will still get that ahhhh factor with each sip.

Want to read more about healthy ways to satisfy your sweet tooth and other cravings? Check out these links:

Seven super spices for super health

Naturally sweetened dessert recipes

Start some sugary soul searching to break free from your sugar habit